Business

Eurozone growth 'slows' in December

A big euro sign outside the ECB HQ Image copyright Getty Images

Growth in the eurozone economy slowed slightly in December from the previous month, new monthly figures suggest.

The Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) figure for December fell to 54, down from November's figure of 54.2, according to Markit.

Any figure above 50 indicates growth.

Eurozone inflation was also revised up to 0.2% in November, down from the previous month, and down 7.3% compared with the same period the year before.

The greatest price increase in November was for unprocessed food, which rose 2.7% - however, that is lower than October's rise of 3.2%.

Despite eurozone economic growth dipping in December, the last three months of 2015 saw the strongest quarterly growth in more than four years, Markit said, with the services sector showing its largest monthly gain since November 2010.

The pace of growth in the manufacturing industry sped up at the fastest rate in 20 months, outpacing the growth in the services sector for the first time in more than a year - although costs and wages in manufacturing continued to rise.

Growth in employment in manufacturing was reported to be "stuck at a modest pace".

Germany enjoyed "ongoing solid growth", while France "slowed closer to stagnation".

Markit's chief economist Chris Williamson said: "Most encouraging of all is the upturn in the rate of job creation, which will hopefully pave the way for unemployment to start falling in earnest as we move into 2016.

"The survey is signalling a quarterly GDP rise of 0.4%, meaning the region grew 1.5% in 2015," Mr Williamson wrote, adding that the growth in hiring indicated growing business confidence.

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